Training after a marathon
How to train after a marathon event
After completeing the marathon, you may be concerned about losing the fitness levels you've built up. So here's how to continue running in the weeks and months after running a marathon...
Training after a marathon tips and advice
Immediately following the big marathon, the first thing you need to do is stop and recover. Allow at least a few days for this recovery. Your legs will probably still feel heavy and it's likely you'll not feel like going out for another run for a while. This is perfectly normal, as is just your opportunity to give your body the rest it requires.
How marathons damage your body
Research has found that more than half of marathon runners have miniscule muscle cell damage immediately following a marathon. They are also susceptible to illness as the immune system is depressed for at least a month following a marathon, so it is advisable for marathon runners need to increase vitamin C and zinc intake to help avoid illness.
How long to rest for
Opinions on how long a rest to take differ. Professor Tim Noakes, the author of Lore of Running, suggests no training for a month. However, endurance begins to decline after five days of no training (the rate of decline is rapid and can be measured by taking the pulse first thing in the morning before rising and again at rest mid-day). There’s little point taking a month off and losing all your accumulated endurance and virtually having to start from scratch again.
What to do after the marathon
The best thing for the marathoner to do in the immediate days after a race is go for a nice easy walk each day, for at least the first couple of days. This will help your legs to recover faster and you will feel better for it. A steady 15 to 20 minute walk should do the trick.
Your endurance levels are now at their highest and you should capitalise on this, as you have worked hard to get to where you are now. The good news is that it is easier to keep your fitness level than start afresh from scratch. By cutting back on the miles and running at a faster pace it is possible to keep the fitness level right up there.
If you ran four times a week before the marathon then by cutting back to two or three times a week you can maintain your level of fitness with minimal effort. This will enable you to focus and plan your next race (preferably not another marathon unless it is a good few months off) as you already know that you are fit and ready for another challenge.